Conference 2023: Call for speakers

Executive Officer (Interim Cover)

The Exchange, University of Birmingham

Putting change into action:
development, diversity and drive


We welcome you to submit a session proposal for the 2023 Conference. Excitingly, this year the conference will be held in-person at the Exchange, University of Birmingham on 7th September and is free of charge for member institutions.

Libraries have seen rapid changes over the last few years and several opportunities have emerged for development. With the pandemic, development of Higher Education policy, and technological advances, it is pertinent for libraries to evolve and put change into action.

The Mercian Collaboration Conference 2023 would like to explore and enable member institutions to share best practices on how we deal with these changes and how they inform and influence our staffing, strategy, and services.

We welcome submissions which could cover, but are not exclusive to, the following themes:

Management and Leadership Services and Workflows
  • Career development for library staff
  • Staff recruitment – challenges and successes
  • Diversifying the workforce
  • Moving into management and leadership
  • New/updated roles
  • Upskilling staff
  • Changing processes
  • Open Access/Open Research
  • Publishing agreements
  • New systems/workflows
  • Flexible working
  • Data driven decisions.
  • Managing workloads though technology
  • Sustainable Development
Driving change by trying something new People and Community
  • Teaching and learning
  • UX
  • Adapting spaces
  • Collaboration/co-operation with other services
  • Inclusivity
  • Learning from failure – not always needing a positive outcome to justify trying something new
  • Looking at higher risk strategies
  • Artificial Intelligence – threats and opportunities
  • Patron Driven Acquisitions
  • Decolonisation of the curriculum
  • Outreach and engagement
  • Challenging stereotypes and assumptions
  • Staff wellbeing
  • Understanding our users moving forward


Mercian Conference 2023: Submission Information

Who can submit a proposal?

The conference committee invites contributions from Mercian Collaboration member institutions. Proposals are welcomed from individuals and as well as collaborative contributions from within one institution, across institutions or between an institution and an external partner. 

We particularly encourage submissions from those who are looking to present for the first time and will be running speaker briefing events to help with those tentative about submitting. 

What types of paper can be submitted? 
The conference committee welcomes contributions that can take the form of a presentations or interactive workshops.
In addition to presentations aimed at large audiences, this year we welcome group sessions designed for an audience of 12 to 26 people.

We particularly encourage innovative proposals aimed at engaging and interacting with an audience in the formats below:

  • 15 minutes short presentation including time for Q and A
  • 30 minutes interactive workshop/presentation including time for Q and A
  • 45 minutes interactive workshops including time for Q and A

Should you wish to submit a paper outside of these formats, please contact the Speaker Liaison Officers Grace Troth and Funmike Ifie.

How to submit a proposal 
Proposals will involve 2 stages:

Stage one: To be used for conference promotion, send your Headshot photo to stating your name.
Stage two: Complete this online form. Please complete all sections of the form.  Please submit your proposal for consideration by Wednesday 3rd May 2023.

Selection Criteria
All proposals will be selected according to the following criteria: 

  • Relevance to the Call for Papers
  • Impact on delegates the wider library community.
  • Levels of originality and innovation
  • Clarity of proposal.

Review and Notification of acceptance
All proposals will be reviewed by members of the planning committee. Outcome will be announced by the middle of June 2022.  

Speaker support session and queries
If you have any queries about submitting a proposal, please consider attending one of our speakers’ briefing support session on either of the following dates:

The conference planning group is also keen to support colleagues with their proposals, so please email with any queries.


Photo credit: University of Birmingham